Moles and benign skin lesions

There are many skin lesions which are benign but can be troublesome or cosmetically sensitive.

  • Moles:
    It is normal to get new moles up to the age of about 25. Moles are usually harmless but can (rarely) develop into a skin cancer. Moles should be protected from the sun just as all skin should be protected from the sun. Melanoma develops in normal skin as much as it does in moles, so there is no point in removing moles to prevent melanoma, unless there has been a change or it itches or bleeds or unless it has suspicious features (asymmetry, border irregularity, colour is uneven, diameter larger than 6mm). Moles can be removed by shaving or excising but unless it really bothers you or is suspicious or changing, it can be left alone.
  • Solar keratoses:
    This is usually a scaly or spiky skin spot. It can rarely develop into skin cancer. Treatment is usually freezing or curettage but some creams can be helpful.
  • Seborrhoeic keratoses:
    These are roughened, waxy areas that look like they are stuck on the skin. They can be successfully removed by freezing if thin, or by curettage if thicker.
  • Lipomas:
    These are lumps under the skin that slip out from under the finger when pressed on the edge. They can be removed through a very small incision.
  • Cysts:
    These are lumps that are usually in the skin. They can get infected and can be excised.

There are many other types of skin lesions. Your general practitioner is the best person to guide you on this. Remember that removal of any skin lesion can leave a mark, so be sure you want it off and are prepared to accept this.